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Monday, February 21, 2000

Netters get two Monahans consolation titles

PECOS, Feb. 21, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles tennis team came up with two consolation title victories over the weekend, in their first tournament of the Spring 2000 season, Friday and Saturday in Monahans.

Teresa Minjarez and Rebecca Wein won consolation at No. 1 girl's doubles, and the No. 2 doubles team of Rachel Pharoah and Brenda Fuentes did the same in their bracket.

The No. 3 team of Kristina Dominguez and Tiffany Jarrett finished fourth, coach Bernadette Ornelas said, as did No. 7 singles player Laura Hinojos and the boys' No. 2 doubles team of Jay Dannelley and Michael Tremble.

Along with the Eagles and Loboes, teams from Crane, Andrews, Fort Stockton, Frenship, Amarillo Palo Duro and Pecos' district rival, Fabens, were entered in the tournament.

"As far as the tournament was concerned the boys represented themselves very well, and on the girls side we're adjusting to new doubles partners," Ornelas said. "Right now t he girls are working hard on their doubles strategy."

Minjarez and Wein defeated Michelle McLallon and Nicole McFadden of Frenship in the consolation finals, 9-7, while Pharoah and Fuentes won by an 8-5 score over Annie Casas and Stefanie Ramirez of Fort Stockton. They did lose their opener to Fabens Daisy Gonzalez and Cindy Cordero, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1, but Minjarez and Wein downed the Wildcats' Alyse Ramos and Annie Gutierrez, 9-7, in the consolation semifinals.

Hinojos won her opening match from Fabens Anna Garcia before losing in the tournament semifinals to Andrews' Melissa Pollard, and then to Fort Stockton's Irene Boon for third place.

Ornelas said her No. 1 doubles team on the boys side had to forfeit due to illness, while Dannelley and Tremble won by forfeit at No 2 doubles before losing to teams from Andrews and Frenship in the semifinal and third place matches.

In singles play, Tremble lost to Monahans' Nick Ledingham in the consolation finals at No. 4 singles, and Allen Almunia did the same at No. 7 singles, falling to Dung Pham of Amarillo Palo Duro in the consolation finals.

On the girls' side in singles, Minjarez, Jarrett and Dominguez all lost their opening matches, then won in the consolation semis before falling in the finals, while Amanda Fleming and Omar Mendoza lost their two matches in the only mixed doubles bracket of the tournament.

The Eagles next tournament will be this coming weekend in El Paso, where they'll compete against 15 teams at the Americas High School Tournament.

Jarrett rallies late for third Daytona victory

AP Motorsports Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 21, 2000 - Dale Jarrett shook hands with The King, and that meant almost as much as winning the Daytona 500 for the third time.

"That sent chills up and down my spine," Jarrett said of his meeting with Richard Petty after the race.

The defending Winston Cup champion wouldn't have gotten the chance if not for his winning pass of surprise contender Johnny Benson with just four laps to go in NASCAR's premier race.

But making the right move at the right time is what Jarrett does best. His victories are almost always big.

Of 23 in his career, seven have been majors. That's the way it is with racing royalty, something The King certainly realized.

"Petty made his way across pit road and shook my hand," said Jarrett, whose series championship last year was the third for his family.

His father, Ned, won two titles when he raced against Petty 40 years ago.

The younger Jarrett knows plenty about winning, too, much more than Benson, who has yet to drive to Victory Lane. He almost got there Sunday, and Jarrett almost wished he had.

"I wouldn't have felt bad to lose to Johnny Benson," Jarrett said. "He's a good guy and they need a break."

But it was Jarrett who got one when a caution flag slowed the field on the 194th of 200 laps at Daytona International Speedway. The green waved for the final time three laps later, and Jarrett did what most in the crowd of 190,000 figured he would, despite an accident that damaged his car at the final practice Saturday.

Powered by a Robert Yates Racing engine, he drove his repaired Ford to the low side of the high-banked second turn, blew by Benson and raced to a NASCAR record prize of $2.3 million from a $9.4 million purse.

Jarrett's timing was perfect. Two laps later, Jimmy Spencer hit the wall, and the race ended under caution.

"It was a good thing I was able to take the lead when I did," Jarrett said. "I wasn't going to have much of chance."

Benson had virtually none when Jarrett led the five-Ford assault on a lone Pontiac.

"I knew the Fords were going to gang up on us at the end," said Benson, who faded to 12th after Jarrett, Jeff Burton, Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin went by him. "I just wish it would have stayed green, but you can't do anything about the yellow."

Benson insisted the first of the final two caution flags cost him the race.

"If the green flag stays out, I would have been OK and I would have won this," said Benson, who hasn't done much in Winston Cup since winning the rookie of the year award in 1996.

Jarrett was dominant during the week leading up to the 500, easily winning the pole position in time trials and overpowering the field in a 25-lap race for last year's top qualifiers.

Even when he finished second to Bill Elliott's Ford in a 125-mile qualifying race, few doubted Jarrett was still the favorite over 500 miles. He lived up to his billing.

"I would never have dreamed when I came into this sport that I could win this race three times," Jarrett said in Victory Lane, where he was greeted by a burst of confetti and hugs from his crew.

Jarrett matched Bobby Allison's total victories in The Great American Race. Only Cale Yarborough (4) and Petty (7) have more.

Jarrett was always at or near the front in a race that lacked any drama until the last 50 laps. The drama was Saturday.

Jeff Gordon, who won Daytona from the pole last year, banged into the rear of Jarrett's Taurus as the two braked to avoid trouble in front of them. The bump sent Jarrett's car skidding onto the apron, where Elliott banged off the left front.

Todd Parrott, Jarrett's crew chief, considered going to a backup car, which would have forced Jarrett to start last in the 43-car field.

Instead, the team worked late into the night - until NASCAR closed the garage area - flew in help from its shop in Charlotte, N.C., and got back to work repairing the car when the garage opened at about 5 a.m.

"If Todd Parrott puts it out there, I have confidence in it," said Jarrett, who led a race-high 89 laps.

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